Saturday, February 05, 2011

My new relationship - a cut out 'n keep guide

I mentioned in September that I had joined our local gym (again - I have joined and left three times now) and to my great surprise I have found that this time, I am using it enough to justify my membership fees (3+ times a week).  I am doing my weekly swimming lessons (though not every week, necessarily) and have worked out a weights / strength routine which I can fit in around my running and which is not too complicated (a guaranteed turn-off for me).  And I use the treadmill.  I started using it on and off this autumn and it has steadily become a firm element of my training routine.  Bizarrely enough, I feel a bit embarrassed blogging about this.  I have always believed that to train to race outside, you have to run outside.  And I still believe that. 

But, there are some moments where a treadmill really is rather handy.  I have come to love it for speed workouts - without access to a track, this is the most accurate way for me to control my distance and speed, far superior to working out with my Garmin.  (I still tend to run my pace workouts outside). And then, sometimes the outside can be inhospitable (2 feet of snow, anyone?) that while going for a run might prove your bad-assedness, you achieve little in terms of a quality workout.  On balance, I have tended to do about 1 or 2 of my weekly workouts on the treadmill, choosing to do most of my recovery, tempo and long runs outside.  However, this weekend we have had treacherously high winds.  Not of an Australian speed, but still about 50km/h.  Going out for an easy 5 yesterday I had to dodge a few large branches crashing onto the country road around me, and within half a mile I packed my run in and headed to the treadmill.  Overnight the wind did not die down, and I was facing running an 18 miler in it.  So, for the first time, I contemplated running 18 miles on the treadmill.  People do it - I know.  People I like and respect - Jill, Matt, Emz - do it.  But I really wasn't sure how I was going to do this without falling off the back of the treadmill with boredom.  So I emailed Emz and asked her to do it.  And she told me.  And I printed out the email and brought sellotape to the gym and taped her email to the treadmill.  And I did it.  I ran 18 miles on the treadmill.  I did not die of boredom, I did not give up, I did it.  With a smile on my face, most of the time actually - I felt like a million dollars.  And I then realised that, given that even people in Texas are facing snowdays, I have to pay this forward.  So without further ado, I present to you the content of Emz email that got me through this - just cut along the dotted line and don't forget to bring your sellotape.


You. Will. Freaking. Rock. It.

Break it up into pieces. 6 miles x 3.

You may call this nuts but........
I run the first third [6 miles] w/o distractions [tv, music, etc].

Keep. Your. Thoughts. Positive.

You staying positive it what will get you through this & dare I say....may make this your best long run yet. ;)

Focus on your form. Your breathing.

Second 6.....turn on the tunes. You will be amazed how fast these 6 fly by.

Next whatever works. Tv. Podcast. Etc. I have seen people at my gym tie on their iPads w/rope like may want to try that?!

Last mile....kick it up one notch faster. For. Me.

Now.... Petra. You know I'm a little nuts.

Treadmill running. Is. Mental. Meaning your attitude when you hop on that mill needs to be "I've got this", "this is going to be a great run". If you hop on thinking you are going to be bored & turn "mental" in two will. For sure.

Just don't tell yourself anything even close to negative.

Keep the incline at at least 1% incline but keep it between 1-2.5% if you need a change.

Stay. Positive. The. Whole. Run.


Take a photo of the mill when you are done. :)


I did just that.  I got on the treadmill and told myself "I've got this".  I pushed every doubt out of my mind as soon as it appeared.  None of that for me today.  I ran the first 6 miles without any music.  There were people in the gym to gawk at, there were tv screens to look at (without headphones, does that count?), I made a point of focusing on my form and breathing whenever I could remember (at every km, in this imperial country we have metric treadmills for some reason).  Done.  Anyone can do 6 miles.  For the second 6 I had loaded my 10 year old's Now That's What I Call Music 77 onto my iPod.  Call me grannie (come on!  I dare you!) but I have missed some great tunes in this past year or so.  Top powersongs I discovered on these 6 miles were Milkshake (Kelis), Shut Up (Black Eyed Peas), Cha Cha Slide (DJ Casper), Jump (Girls Aloud). I was rocking along and again, the miles went past quickly.  I was varying the incline, keeping the base at 1.5 % but varying it up to 2 for 1K, up to 2.5 for 1K, down to 1 for .5K and back to 1.5% - there was no system to it but I was just trying to make sure my legs did not do exactly the same thing for too long.  For the last 6 I started off with a podcast, but I could suddenly feel my mojo slipping.  Only one thing for it - before I had a moment's further doubt, I found myself some Britney.  Three plays of Toxic and I was back on it.  I had promised Emz that I would run my last mile faster and while I had run the whole workout at the 9:30 min/mile I dropped to an 8:45 for the last mile.  Yeah, yeah - not setting the world on fire here I know but that wasn't the point.  I did it.  And I loved it! 

So not a good look.  This is why the over 35s do not do FaceTime.

See the taped-up piece of paper on the treadmill just behind my elbow?
Don't worry - I will still be doing the vast majority of my running outside.  But I am more amazed than anything that I was able to change my attitude towards something so quickly and so effectively.  I should try this on pizza, red wine and Ben and Jerry's next.  After I have some...


Running and living said...

Love this! Love how you had a plan for the run, you asked a fellow mill lover, and you followed the plan (BTW EMZ's writing is always cracking me up!). Congrats!
I think those who run on the mill are bad-asses! For me, it is not boredom, it's that I feel restricted, that my stride gets too short. I go from the back to the front of the mill and have close calls with the ground. Still, I am going to have to go on the mill for a few runs next week, bc we have ice over ice on my regular paths and can't hit the pace I want over there.

misszippy said...

WAY. TO. GO. (an homage to EMZ, there). So glad you pulled this off. You are so mentally strong and your physical strength is there too. You have no idea how well you are doing to do at Boston!

Anonymous said...

That is just outstanding Petra! (Psss I also cover my treadmill display when I run there) This proves how strong your mind is, which will serve you well at Boston. *high five*

Unknown said...

I so needed this today! thank you!
We've been snowed in and treadmill runs have gotten the best of me, eek!

Road Warrior said...

Simply awesome. I've been able to do as many as 10 miles on the dreadmill, but couldn't stand it any longer. Congrats!

Aka Alice said...

I think the farthest run I've ever done on the 'mill is 6 or 7 miles, so I definitely bow to you. I agree, the 'mill is all about being mentally positive, which isn't bad training either, is it?

Aka Alice said...

I think the farthest run I've ever done on the 'mill is 6 or 7 miles, so I definitely bow to you. I agree, the 'mill is all about being mentally positive, which isn't bad training either, is it?

Unknown said...

You are just amazing(and EMZ as well)! I have NEVER run more than five miles on the treadmill, ever!
It's just incredible how much the mind is in control of every little thing we say and do...we are SO much more capable than we think! This just proves it, thanks for the inspiration!! YOU WILL rock Boston!

lizzie lee said...

This is fascinating. I will copy Emz email and keep it handy. Never know when will be my turn for an 18-miler on the treadmill, which I love BTW. I got to love her(she is a girl, isn't she?). My first long run was a 13.1 miles, in a winter day, 10 days after my surgery. Knowing that a tough treatment was gonna be part of my life for 4 months, Hubby gave me one as a gift so I could step and run whenever I felt like it. I am really thankful of having the opportunity of running on her when the conditions don't allow otherwise....

Fran said...

18 miles on the treadmill? Unbelievable and so impressive!
I love how you cut your run into three pieces and made them all.

I sometimes use the treadmill but only for short runs. We had the same wind yesterday but I did go out but I had to do only 4 miles which is not impossible with such hard wind.

Well done Petra!

Emz said...


In your words you "nailed" this.

for. sure.

So freaking awesome.

Patrick Mahoney said...

You had me at the EMZ impression.

Unknown said...

WOW! This is amazing. Long runs on the treadmill will always impress me. You did it and you did it WELL! More than well, you kicked that long run's ass.

EMZ is awesome, don't you just love her? I loved her advice and I'm glad you shared that on your blog in case I ever need to run 18 on the old treadmill.

I agree that the treadmill can be super convenient. I love doing speedwork on the TM because I don't have to map out a route and check my watch.

Congrats on an awesome new accomplishment.

Marathon Maritza said...

WELL DONE! I just loved the attitude of this post!

I think the longest I've run is 17 on a treadmill, during very bad rains and it would've been helpful to have this list. I think I watched 2 full length movies that I'd been wanting to see to pass the time, hee hee. YOU ARE A ROCK STAR!

Runner Susan said...

Here I go Petra. 10 miles on the treadmill - I'll break it into 4x3x3. Pictures coming your way soon!

Thomas Bussiere said...

The mill is great for speedwork - quick turnover. Great mental approach to long miles on the machine.

Anonymous said...

aweesome job lady! the treadmill can be handy and I think an helpful/effective part to anyones training! I do what Emz suggested and always break my runs up into segments, which makes it seem much more do-able. I also usually run without music initially and then mix in some tv or music in the later miles.

jeanne said...

I love EMZ's writing. He's my hero #2. Cuz YOUR #1!!!!

One question: My gym has some stupid 30 minute rule--no rule like that at yours?

Oh wait.

It probly only took you 30 minutes!

Tricia said...

I've made peace with the treadmill this winter and have come to love it

never thought I'd say that

Amanda@runninghood said...

I can't seem to find your e-mail address but just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful comment you just left. I'm about to head to bed and these were wonderful words to get right before hitting the pillow. Thank you. They meant a far one of the best things I've read all day. I appreciate your advice and your thoughtfulness Petra! Funny how you can know in your heart what the best thing to do is and you can tell yourself to be smart and that it is okay to take a break but when someone else tells you too, it really helps! xo

Amanda@runninghood said...

Oh, and I hope you are feeling strong again and able to run soon! Good for you for being in the moment and surrendering to your reality instead of fighting it. You're right so much to do with that time...more time with family, books, going out! Great outlook! Glad to hear from you!

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